David Vance's Journal

/A Blank Red Leather Diary cover/

The Diary itself is full of assorted papers, some of the early 2 sticking out, appearing to have been taped onto its early pages (they were originally written on office looseleaf). The later entries are more professional, laid out as a series of "Personal Memoirs" on the diary's pages. Tucked in against the diary's back cover are a series of sealed letters, marked "Letters for Bobby".

Crimes of Passion
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Downtime

Diary of My Newly Freed Time

Having searched for a way to bring back Bobby for years, I haven't had a moment to spare in all that time. Between the divorce settlement with Melanie, the work at the company, and my frantic research into the occult I spent it all, I suppose, on Bobby--on trying to find a way to bring him back to me. Now that I've discovered a way, I've had some free time for the first time in three years. I could do anything I wanted, now that the only way of accomplishing my goal was on these "Contracts". I finally took some of my work colleagues on their invitations to the bar after work. I've gotten quite good at karaoke, at least enough to not be embarrassed by my singing anymore. I also spent some time at the shooting range, the first time I've done that since I last got my license renewed. It felt good to polish up my skills, really clean the rust off of them. My dreams have still felt...chilly, but that presence hasn't assaulted them again, for now. It feels like it's biding its time, waiting for the next time I'm at my most vulnerable. My son hasn't returned to me yet, not truly, but I have gained a way to bring him back in part. I can channel his spirit now, though I haven't tested it out just yet. A perfect reward from my last job, just what a devious employer like him would grant me. A taste of what I want, enough to have me continue, but not enough that my goal is accomplished. I know I'm being manipulated by my employer, and this bargain we've struck. I just don't care. I'll do anything to bring my son back home, alive and safe, no matter what it costs me. Isn't that what any good father would do?

Flash Suits
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Downtime

David’s Letters to Bobby, Entry Two

I've been working on my abilities trying to bring you back, Bobby. I took on a second "job", and did well in it. There was a moment where I had to hide, however, and even though I managed to make it work I'm not trained in that sort of thing. Since it saved my life, I figured maybe I should get that kind of training. So I signed up for a week long summer course on Survival and Camo techniques that I could take after my 9-5 workday. It's helped me get a bit better at keeping my head low in critical situations. Other than that, I've been researching into ghouls and Blavatsky lately. Completely separate topics, but both have helped me find some deeper sources. I've started tuning into Blavatsky's theories about "elementals", and "shells", and while I'm not sure if she was right (as it's very clear to me your soul exists, Bobby), I think I might be able to use these "shells" she's talking about to create a vessel for your soul...if I can find a ritual that will let me. As for the ghoul research, I started that for a colleague, but ghouls seem linked to the dead as well. Maybe researching them will help me as well...so far though, all I've been able to do is locate some. What's that? I wasn't expecting---*writing cuts off for a bit*. It appears I just received a package, courtesy of the last "job". Maybe this phone can help me in my research too....

To Russia With Love
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Downtime

Personal Memoirs, Entry One

I figure the approach I was using for keeping diary notes before isnt working so well, as labeling them stuff like "Journal of my Spare Time" has caused them to get pretty unorganized. From here on out I'm going to label them as an ordered series of memoirs. After my flight got back, the first thing I did was get back to work. After a grueling workday, though, I took the time to honor Eric's last wishes. I drove to his house and adopted his axolotl. I never was much of a pet guy, but....it was his last wish, and the little lizard is pretty adorable. I don't know what Eric called him, so I've given the guy a new name...I've decided to call him "Perry". Keeping him fed and happy was a challenge the first few days, but a bunch of YouTube guides and a helpful clerk at the local pet shop have helped mostly figure it out. Perry's been thriving these last few weeks. He's really helped keep me cheerful these last few weeks. That's been pretty much my only bright spot in them, as the paperwork for Eric's will and the selling off of most of his things combined with my life insurance job has been some real grinding work. As for the spirit phone....I've been debating whether to give you a call, my son. Ultimately, I want to bring you back, and as much as I want to hear your voice right now...I'm not sure what to say to you when you do pick up on "the other end". Do I apologize, for not being there the day your car was hit? Do I tell a Dad joke? I think...I need to prepare for it some more...but when I'm ready, I will give you a call. I'll be here for you this time, Bobby.

Production Lines
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Downtime

Personal Memoirs, Entry 2

Tyler offered me a job in LA. I've hated that insurance grind for a while anyways, so I took him up on the offer. Writing that resignation letter for StateFarm was satisfying. I'll never have to hear that "Jake" jingle again. Moving was...more emotional than I thought it would be. Packing Bobby's things, throwing out some of Melanie's that remained after the divorce. I wasn't expecting to feel such an attachment to this house, but I've lived here for over a decade. Even after the divorce I researched here...spent countless sleepless nights looking into necromantic history, famous occultists, and CryptoLeak news. More recently I looked deeper into the Blavatsky stuff, finding some methods of materializing the "shells" she spoke of. It felt strange to leave that trusty old house behind. The new LA apartment is fine, and it's not like I had any friends left in Jersey after the divorce, as most of them sided with Melanie. But sometimes I still miss the old house. The city itself is alright, though it's louder at night here than Port Liberty was. The traffic is also far worse. The headlines were right when they called LA traffic "the worst traffic in the nation".  I was almost late to work yesterday because of it. Speaking of, work has put me through my research paces. The new job has made me dig deeper into CryptoLeak and obscure occult lore than I ever had before. To accommodate how deeply I'm getting involved in occult research, I also turned a section of my apartment into my ritual workshop, and decorated it with the appropriate symbols and signs. The work there with that....man's reward, has gone well. I think, Bobby, now that I've gotten adjusted to LA, I'm ready to give you a call.

A Welcoming Party
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Downtime

Personal Memoirs, Entry 3

I've finally made a breakthrough thanks to that Contractor kid, Emily. In exchange for my crafting services, she was able to ask GenWyld whether they had a way to bring someone back from the dead. It turns out they do--though apparently they can't perfectly capture the mind. I think I could cover that, though, with a bit of time. Using some newly researched necromantic techniques I was able to locate the soul through these bands, not just the elemental. And with that I could link the band to the ideal state of a person's mind. If I just apply what I've learned here to finding Bobby's mind, I think there's a damn good chance my son could have another shot at life. There was a catch though. GenWyld wants $2 million and a "special working relationship"...by which they probably mean they want me to do their dirty work for them. And I'd be willing to do it for my son, but I'm also not a millionaire....never had any interest in being one. But now I have to try. I've gotta figure out some way I can utilize the unnatural abilities I've gained over the course of these jobs to acquire $2 million. 

 

But even now, I'm happier than I've been in a while. I finally have a concrete direction, a real sense of what I need to do to see my son again. All those fruitless nights of research, the divorce, taking on these jobs....it wasn't for nothing. There is a way to bring my son back out there, and by every force out there I am going to take it.

Scenario for The Finger Biters
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Downtime

Personal Memoirs, Entry 4

I haven’t had much time to sleep lately. Not that I ever do. My research continues, as always. I’ve uncovered a new ritual that allows me to reach into some place the dead inhabit…a Realm of the Dead, as it were. Those that I consulted over the spirit phone were eager to explain the ritual to me….almost too eager. I worry I might risk life or limb by attempting it. I think it’s worth a try however, as the upsides offer a physical interaction with the Dead…a way to pull them, even if only a part of them briefly through a treasured item, into this world. It is a step closer to resurrection. A step closer to bringing my son back. Even if it takes all my strength, even if I have to put myself on the line in this ritual…I’ll risk everything to further this research. Even if I have to throw down on the mat like in my old sports days…

🔞 Oklahoma Jaws
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Downtime

Personal Memoirs, Entry 5

I’ve been in such a rush lately. After the last job, I couldn’t even slow down to catch a drink with my fellows. It’s all been worth it though. I’ve made a bit of a name on Offr Red, selling the fruits of my research. I exchanged one of my soul securing bands in exchange for healing, and a meeting with a business partner of sorts who seemed to be far more powerful than I expected. I worry if I should even write about him here….I would not want to breach confidentiality, or invoke his wrath. I am nothing if not professional. Suffice to say that Offr Red is proving to be a valuable networking tool. If I can’t find a way to bring you back on my own research alone, Bobby, perhaps through this networking I can find a way through the research of other Supernaturals. This last deal gave me a scroll to look into. It seems to be written in some kind of ancient language though, and despite a few sleepless nights, I’ve had no luck deciphering it so far. I won’t rest till I can crack the puzzle…

83.5 the Wave
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Downtime

Personal Memoirs, Entry 6

I learned of someone who could help me with my research from Nathan after the last job. A witch who fluently speaks Ancient Greek, that goes by the moniker Juno. I got into contact with her, and since then I’ve started learning how to speak the language from her. It wasn’t easy at first, the letters and words all jumbled and obtuse, but I eventually got the hang of it. With that new knowledge, I began to decipher the scroll, and the secrets it contained were startling. The author of the scroll claims to be Asclepius, the Ancient Greek demigod of medicine, the son of Apollo. The author seems to have been somewhat a kindred spirit, an ancient researcher themselves. The scroll lays out a ritual of power with the ability to call upon the dead. The researcher has some notes at the bottom though, claiming that this was an imperfect method, an abandoned one. I attempted to use the scroll yesterday, to determine whether the method presents some validity, and it might. It raises the dead as corpse shamblers, not themselves. It’s not exactly what I’m looking for, but it still is the closest I’ve come so far. Perhaps finding Asclepius’s other methods shall grant me the goal I seek…

Lil Game Hunter
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Downtime

Personal Memoirs, Entry 7

I was able to find some of Asclepius’s instruments, the blood of the Gorgon. It was an arduous trip to Greece and then to Rome, but it paid off. Unfortunately, though I invited her into the research, the ancient witch Juno was preoccupied…likely troubled by our last conversation. I discovered that after his death, the demigod’s instruments of healing and harm were for a time held by his cult in Greece. After an invasion by the tyrant Sulla’s army long ago, the temple was ransacked, and the instruments were carted back to Rome, buried in its most secret and hidden of catacombs. The catacombs were heavily guarded, but speaking with their original builders allowed me to navigate them with greater ease…a member of the modern day cult was of great assistance as well. Afterwards, I returned home and studied the vials. One contained a blood that was toxic, poison…useless to my work. The other, however, contained a bone of Medusa herself…still pulsating, still containing yet perhaps living marrow. I extracted the marrow, and knowing that it may kill me, but may also be the key to Bobby’s life, injected it into my own bones. The pain was blinding at first. It even disrupted my soul securing band for a moment, shocking me with a wildfire of agony that came from within. I could only wheeze out my pain. Afterwards, however, once the pain had subsided to the degree I could crawl, that I could slide on my belly across my apartment floor, I discovered that my blood was moving. Quaking. Slithering. The research was successful. Medusa’s blood lives within me now. Perseus did not fully remove her healing miracle from the world. And with that miracle, I am yet another step closer.

The Weirdling Planes of Poldahk
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Downtime

Letter to Dreamer

Dear Dreamer,

 

Last we spoke I promised you a story. I will tell you that story one day, but there is another you should hear first. You proved yourself a trustworthy enough soul to hear it.

 

First, you need to understand what I fight for. What I research for. The reason I put my blood and my life on the line.

 

I wasn’t always this wandering arcanist, this occult collector. Just a few short years ago, I was a life insurance agent. Even though my life was filled with daily work and drudgery of all sorts, I was also truly happy. 

And who wouldn’t have been, in my shoes? I was a father. My son Bobby was 16. My marriage with my wife, Melanie, had held strong for over a decade and a half, and we were still a blissful couple.

If things had just stayed that way, if Id just gone on to see my boy grow up, I could have died content and peaceful. I could’ve lived in my bubble forever. Could have Watched the Giants every week and sent my son to college.

But my tranquil life was shattered the day of the accident.

I could have been there for him.

Should have been there for him.

The last words he heard from me were a shouted “That girl is a bad influence, Bobby!”

 

I’ll never get to take them back. When I got the call it was too late. I found his Chevy crumpled in a ditch, my precious boy a mess of gore inside it. The pickup rammed into his side steaming in the rain. The driver who did it was already locked in the back of the officers’ vehicle, still in a drunken haze. My Bobby, my baby boy, was dead. I don’t think I ever forgot the sound of the rain that night. The way it pattered off the metal car hood. The way his blood mixed with the dirt. The wrong angle of his neck. The bone jutting out, jagged and bleak. 

You aren’t wrong to say I was haunted. 
Am haunted. 

I knew then I had to right the wrong. That I couldn’t let it end like this. That of all people, my Bobby didn’t deserve this. That it was my fault.

 

My fault for not being there for him when he needed me.

 

So I researched. And researched. And researched. I tried every ritual I could get my hands on, every new age book I could find. It hit me like a goddamn hammer when Melanie handed me the divorce papers. Slid them under the door after a long day of work and the start of another night of searching for a way to bring him back. My wife of 18 long years divorced me. She said I’d neglected her, that work had always pulled me thin but that I’d abandoned her for the dead. 

I still don’t know if I ever recovered from that. Don’t know if I ever will. 
The wound still aches, every time I remember she’s living across the country, that she moved on from me and our son. Our only son.

 

So when the man approached me saying he would ensure my research finally broke through, yes, I signed the papers. I took the offer. Went on these jobs. And every job I get closer, though I’ve learned a lot since.

 

Ive seen death face to face. Buried colleagues. Seen the way the Powers out there view us like puppets on a string, and view our lives as entertainment.

But through it all, I won’t let this resolve waver. I will bring my boy back to life, and fix my mistake that day.

 

And perhaps, Dreamer, you’ll be one of the trusted few to help me do it.

 

Note that down for your archive.

 

Your friend and fellow seeker,

DV

The Ring Gamble
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Downtime

Personal Memoirs, Entry 8

I took some time for myself.


Frankly, I needed it. It’d been too long since I’d focused on training my body. My muscles had grown weak, atrophied. Of course….a normal gym routine wasn’t going to cut it. I made a bit of a bet with Tyler. Told him I’d  show up to work 30 minutes early for the next month.

 

’Course, I didn’t tell him I’d be hoofing it to work across the LA cityscape on foot. Every weekday for a month, I sprinted through LA. Ducked under bridges, jumped low roofs, hell, even slid down a few rails in a way I haven’t since I was a much younger guy. 

Eventually the strength training paid off. I felt my muscles begin to toughen up, remember their old shape. 

To be honest, I even started to enjoy the hike. It definitely beat getting stuck in more LA traffic. 

 

And boss, if you’re reading this little journal of mine, you lost the bet. I’ll be expecting a drink next time I see you.

Shadows Under Redwoods
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Downtime

Late Night Texts to Liam—A Place to Start

(a series of Apple messages at midnight ping up on Liam’s phone)


<I’ve been thinking about that conversation in Seattle, Liam. I think your point is starting to resonate with me. The dead do deserve justice. Some of them, anyways.>

<The children especially. The innocent. People who did nothing to harm others and were killed in cold blood anyways. Their deaths don’t sit well with me, Liam. But I don’t think going about bringing justice your way fixes the issue fully either>

<A bullet in the head of the serial killer doesn’t let his victims spend another day as a happy family. Doesn’t let them get back what was robbed from them. Doesn’t heal the community that was destroyed in the wake of it.>

<So I don’t think I’m exactly like you, Liam, though I do respect you. When I can find the breakthrough to save Bobby, I’m not stopping there. My son isn’t the only one who deserves justice.>

<And even if you think I’m some kind of….monster for changing the way things have been, defying the natural order like that, Liam. I’m tired of seeing innocent families broken apart. If I can one day change that….I can’t just let the murdered stay dead>

<It’s why I’ve started looking into those serial killing cases lately, Liam. In between my regular research. Your method, that bullet to the head, doesn’t create justice. But it’s a place to start.>

 

On a plane!
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Downtime

I Hurt Myself Today

(Listen to this while you read: https://open.spotify.com/track/28cnXtME493VX9NOw9cIUh?si=9Nl6mKBVRb2-bM_wrOxdug&context=spotify%3Asearch%3Ahurt%2Bjohnny%2Bcash)

————————————————————————

(the pages of the letter are blood spattered, and tattered)

I thought I had finally found it. The way to bring him back. The way to save my son.

 

I didn’t. I let him down. Let everyone down. Let Eric down. Let Dreamer down. Let Tyler and Ted and the Businessman down. Let Liam down.

 

The ritual wasn’t easy to find. I scoured the archives, talked to dozens of past practitioners. They all vouched for it. Claimed it could bring him back. Not as some zombie, or some fiend, but as himself. As my son.

 

It required the blood of the ancients. The stuff that’s been running in my veins lately. Gorgon’s blood. They told me I’d need to give my life. I didn’t hesitate.

 

I set up the circle correctly. Carved the runes of power. Spilled the pigsblood on the floor, filled the seals of invocation. Put the body in the middle. His body.

My son.

He looked worse for wear. The years in the coffin hadn’t been kind to him. The rot, the decay, the terrors time had wrought on his flesh. It took me hours just to pluck the worms out of Bobby. Hours more to sneak his body home across the streets of LA, smuggled in the backseat of the car. 

As is I was lucky my neighbors weren’t night owls. That they already knew my apartment gave out strange noises in the night. I think that’s why I didn’t get a knock on the door when I began the chanting.

 

Took the ritual dagger, its metal gleaming in the moonlight shining through the curtains, the firelight of the candles dancing on the tip of the blade. 

As that blade pierced my flesh at the elbow. Cleaved straight down through to the wrist. 

I gripped the blade firm between my teeth. Began on the other arm, the band stabilizing, helping me to not feel the pain. 

Yet again ripped through to the wrist.

 

I stood over Bobby’s corpse. Poured my blood over him. Writhing, riotous blood. The runes glowed, the candles flared.

 

And….nothing. My son’s eye sockets did not open. Could not open. Remained empty. 

He was still dead.

 

The band slipped off my slack arm, and the pain began. Like fire electric. Too strong to even scream. And then the room began to fade, to black.

 

The colors faded, and I could see no more. 

When I regained awareness, I was in darkness. I still could not see. Could only feel something cold, and wet, that stuck to me. Like mud.

 

And I screamed out, at the top of my lungs, yet no noise left my lips. Do you know what it’s like, to be trapped without your senses? To be alone with your thoughts?

 

And I did think. Think how I let down Bobby. How Melanie was right about me. 

How I had let down every single person who had ever relied on me. How I’d let die the commitment I’d made to Liam. How I’d never told Dreamer that story. How I’d never avenged those children, or figured out how to bring them back.

 

That’s when I felt the first hand gripping my ankle, rising out of the mud. 

Another. And then Another. Many Something’s I could feel dragging themselves out of the earth below. 

 

In my head I could hear their voices. The voices that had always been from the other side of the phone. 

You’re here now, Mr. Vance. The voice of the farmer. 

You’re here now, detective. The voice of the cartel.

You’re here now, my friend. Splattered across the earth below like me. Eric’s voice.

 

I’ve been waiting for you, Dad.

Bobby, my son. 

“I’m sorry, Bobby. I failed to save you. I wasn’t there when you needed me. I failed you as a father”. The words screaming out of me. Finally they hit the air.

The hands pulling me downward into the muck stopped. 
I’ve seen you. Trying to make it right. 

“I failed you. I failed the living too. My last words to you were an argument. When I called you over the spirit phone, I lied. You aren’t alive, son. I wanted you to be, but I couldn’t bring you back. You should drag me down.”

You did lie. (/The chorus of voices join in/) But we need you. You were the only one who reached us. The only one who cared. The only one who could. The choice is yours, David Vance. Do you live for us?

 

And I thought. I thought of my last conversations. That text to Liam. The mission I had found. The dead slackening their grip on me now. The living who still needed me. And those passed who needed to live again.

 

”I live for you son, of course. But I live for more than that. I live to seek justice for every murdered innocent. Every shattered family. Every lost, unjustly crucified soul”

There were no more voices. The hands slackened their grip. Sank into the mud. 

And I began to crawl across the mud. Dragging my form by my fingertips. It went on for what felt like years. Until eventually, my fingers hit a wall. And at the wall, I dug my hands in deeper, and I began to climb. 

It turns out my form could feel something. Exhaustion, and pain. My muscles burning, I clawed myself up that wall. The dead and the living were counting on me. I couldn’t end it here.

 

And after the Climb, my form dragged up, and I could see the floor of my apartment. The candles burned low. My own corpse on the floor on top of Bobby’s, covered in blood. I dragged myself across that carpet. And climbed back in.

 

When I opened my eyes it felt surreal. But I was alive. Hurt, but alive.

 

I have something to live for,  now. The innocent need their redemption, and the dead need life. I am David Vance, the chosen justicar of the righteous dead. And I will see justice enacted.

🔞 The Great and Terrifying Dragon of The Hills
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